Last week, I posted an article about Three Prospects Poised to Skyrocket in 2020. While I didn’t realize it at the time, all three of those guys are on NL teams, so it definitely wasn’t the most helpful for guys in AL-Only leagues. For that reason, this week I’m going to be covering three guys from AL teams who are going to breakout big time in 2020.

If you notice that the six prospects I’ve covered over these past two articles are all position players, that’s not by accident. You may have seen the acronym “TINSTAAPP” around the baseball world before, meaning “There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect”. While it’s a bit of an oversimplification, the reasoning behind it is that pitching prospects are significantly more risky than their position-player counterparts, so you’re more likely to get value out of a hitter than a pitcher. Additionally, the adjustment curve for pitchers in the majors is a bit steeper, and few pitching prospects contribute at a high level immediately. Many prospects struggle massively in their debuts (i.e. Berrios), and some even take a few years (i.e. Giolito, Glasnow) before really figuring it out (By the way if you’re looking for a pitcher like Berrios who struggled in their debut, I highly recommend picking up Mitch Keller.). Because of this, many former top prospects will end up hitting the waiver wire in even deep dynasty leagues, so I think you should invest in position players way more, and for that reason I’m focusing mainly on hitters.

Greg Jones – SS – TBR 

Greg Jones, like Hudson Head who I covered last week, is mostly being underrated because of where he was taken in the 2019 MLB Draft. While Jones wasn’t a 3rd round pick like Head, his late 1st round selection (22nd overall) has caused him to be a bit overlooked in FYPDs so far. I’ve seen Jones mostly in the 10-20 range in most FYPDs, even falling into the 20s for some. Personally, Greg Jones is easily top 10 for me, and I would definitely take him over a guy like Hunter Bishop. If you’re not too familiar with Jones, it’s likely because he wasn’t the biggest name coming into the 2019 college season, out of UNC-Wilmington. A massive year skyrocketed Jones up draft boards, as he posted a 1.034 OPS to go along with 42 SB in only only 63 games. He also did this while walking more than he struck out, leading to a .491 OBP. He continued this success in Short Season A-Ball, where he posted an .874 OPS and really impressed scouts.

Jones’ biggest draw is his speed, as he’s one of the few true 80-grade runners. In his 48 game debut alone, Jones stole 19 bases and I think he’ll even improve his instincts as he gets more experience. What Jones has that few players with his speed do, is the ability to provide with the bat as well. Jones has a solid hit tool, as well an advanced feel for the strike zone, so he projects to be a solid contributor with AVG and OBP. He also displays above average raw power in batting practice from both sides of the plate, but hasn’t shown a ton of power in games yet. If he adjusts his approach and hits the ball in the air more, I could see him being a solid contributor for HR too, but his GB% which was at 52.2% needs to go way down.

While Jones is likely to move to CF, especially with such a crowded infield in the Rays system, he will still be extremely valuable out in the OF. Jones’ speed and ability to get on base alone make him an extremely valuable asset in fantasy, but when you factor in his raw power he has one of the highest ceilings of anyone in baseball. I personally think Jones’ is already a top 100 prospect in fantasy baseball, and I think he’ll make his way into the top 50 pretty quickly. Jones is not too dissimilar from his future teammate Vidal Brujan, and is a guy I would be targeting in every dynasty league.

Aaron Bracho, 2B, CLE

This list could honestly be made entirely of Indians prospects, with guys like Ethan Hankins, Daniel Espino, Gabriel Rodriguez, Alexfri Perez, and plenty more primed for huge breakouts this year, but Bracho is the one who I think should be on every fantasy player’s radar. Much like Pomares last week, Bracho’s bat first nature makes him even more valuable in fantasy than in real life, and has caused him to fly a bit under the radar. One thing you’ll hear about Bracho from anyone who’s seen him play is that the kid can flat out hit. Despite skipping the DSL, the 18 year old was one of the best hitters in the Arizona League, posting a 162 wRC+ in 30 games. After a slow start, Bracho posted a 1.169 OPS in the last 21 games, The Indians even felt confident enough in Bracho to send him to short season ball to close out the season, where he again held his own.

Bracho has a legitimate shot at being a 60 hit/60 power prospect, as he possesses both an incredible swing and approach. Bracho has elite barrel control, as well as solid bat speed, that makes it very difficult to fool him. When you combine this with great recognition of the strike zone, Bracho should handle higher level pitching just fine, and projects as a guy who will walk a lot, and won’t strike out a ton. On top of this Bracho has big power from both sides, which he showed in BP as well as in games, where he launched three 420+ ft. HR in his short debut. If all goes well, there’s very few prospects who can match Bracho’s upside at the plate, not just at 2B, but in all of baseball. Fellow Indians’ prospect George Valera has been compared to Juan Soto plenty of times, but I personally think Bracho could be even better with the bat, and I think he could be a top 10-20 prospect in fantasy by the end of the season. If you’re looking for a Julio Rodriguez type rise, Aaron Bracho is my guy for 2020.

Noelvi Marte, SS, SEA

Noelvi Marte is probably the prospect who is regarded the highest of the six prospects I’ve covered, but he’s also still massively underrated. As far as players whose fantasy value are far ahead of their real life value, I think Marte is towards the top of that list. This is partially because of how bad Marte’s defense is as of now, but also because of how incredible his power/speed upside is. In terms of just power and speed, I’m not sure there’s another prospect in baseball who can match Noelvi Marte. Marte is also the only player of the six who hasn’t made his debut stateside, but a solid debut stateside could do wonders for his value. Marte will look to continue the success he had in the DSL, as he dominated to the tune of a 138 wRC+.

As previously stated, Marte’s main draw is his incredible power/speed combo. Marte stole 17 bases in 65 games in the DSL, and has posted some 80 grade run times, with most giving him at least 70 speed. He also has immense raw power, as he was one of only three 18 year olds to post an average flyball distance over 300 ft. (the other two were Julio Rodriguez and Marco Luciano. You might know them). As he fills out, Marte could genuinely be a 70 power/70 speed prospect, which is something that I think only Bobby Witt Jr. can realistically match. Additionally, he does this while possessing a solid hit tool, and a decent plate approach. While his hit tool is likely not more than 50 grade, it’s certainly enough that it won’t hold him back. His stateside debut in 2020 should give us a better idea of where his hit tool is, but the power and speed alone make him already a top 25ish prospect in dynasty leagues. Marte has genuine 30/30 upside, with the potential for more of either, and I think he’ll be a top 5-10 dynasty prospect this time next year. I personally think he’ll end up in CF long term, but that won’t change how good his offensive upside is.

 
  1. goodfold2 says:
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    nice to see another dynasty guy round here along with itch. i’m just over the last week or so getting re-informed on deep prospect stuff as i got a 30 team max 40 prospects stashed per team 6 round draft that i’ll have 8-10 picks in (all of them in the 22nd-24th each round range, an possibly 2 supplementals at end of 1st and 2nd round if i don’t match sale’s bid price here in a few days). so far been going over itch’s 2 150 overall guys, itch’s team lists, prospects live’s 100 player 1st year mock draft, 365’s top most recent top 200, and any other team list at fantasy rundown prospects (indexed from about 6-7 sites team lists). i find myself possibly even drafting a SP earlier than normal, as my SP prospects are weak in general, but MI/CI come in 2nd in weakness there (OF much stronger, most of my last few years 1st rounders have almost always been OF, as i pretty much always go best hitter in the first round and i always draft in the 18th-22nd range).

    how youse ranking these guys: skubal, ed cab (MIA), cantillo, balazovic, lodolo, j.ryan, frias, espino, manoah, rutledge, kirby, e.small, l.gil and anybody else i left out if a 1st year possible guy. if 365’s top 200 is mostly your own rankings from a few months back i already know how these’ll go. the latter 5 in that mix missed itch’s top 150, but they might not have if it was redone now i’d think is possible with at least some of them.

    • Will Scharnagl

      Will Scharnagl says:
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      a lot of those guys are so close that it honestly depends what you’re looking for, but I think Lodolo is the one who’s clearly above the rest. If I had to rank them I’d probably go:

      Lodolo
      Cabrera
      Espino
      Skubal
      Manoah
      Gil
      Cantillo
      Balazovic
      Kirby
      Rutledge
      Small
      Ryan
      Frias

      I think there’s a decent sized dropoff after Balazovic in that list too, altough I am a fan of Kirby. The first 8 are all likely top 100, and the last 5 are all probably a little bit off of it.

      • goodfold2 says:
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        good stuff here. lodolo moving up, ed cab/skubal everybody is pretty high on, espino’s upside sounds big, manoah and kirby both sounded pretty good but good to know manoah higher, rutledge higher to some, itch was higher on ryan/frias. gil has a very high variance from spot to spot.

        • Will Scharnagl

          Will Scharnagl says:
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          My issue with a lot of them is that I see them more as relievers than starters. Even Skubal is a guy who has pretty high reliever risk. Frias and Ryan I especially think are likely relievers. I actually like Kirby a lot, tbh the Gil through Kirby list are essentially equal. With Manoah vs Kirby it’s upside vs floor. Kirby’s command gives him solid floor but Manoah’s upside is likely higher (although i think Kirby’s ceiling is underrated by a lot).

          • goodfold2 says:
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            good stuff and yet another reason why going pitcher in 1st round in deep leagues probably not a great idea. even at 22nd overall. reason i’m even thinking of doing that is my prospects in this super deep league are (some of these’ll have to be dropped just after or mid-draft, 40 max):
            C: okey (CIN)
            CI (we start 2 CI, 2 MI, 3 OF, 1 C, 1 util for hitters): vientos, w.craig, e.rios (LAD), d.ellis (ARI), denton (STL), lavalley (CIN), padlo (TB), kubitza (ATL)
            MI: paredes, w.perez (DET), a.tejada (TEX), k.smith (TOR), a.rondon (TB)
            OF: adell, kirilloff, trammell, victor to the 2nd mesa, t.ornelas, p.gonzalez (TEX), v.garcia (STL), g.whitley (TB), c.brannen (BOS), v.reyes (DET, probably promote him soon as he is getting steals and likely starts), cozens, dj davis (TOR), tocci (ex PHI/TEX)
            SP: w.crowe, c.rodriguez (LAA), c.hernandez (KC), m.sauer (NYY), kilome, diplan (BAL, ex MIL), a.smith (SD, probably bullpen as i can’t even find him in lists anymore)
            RP: j.guzman (probably bullpen), staumont
            so clearly weak at pitcher and MI depth, and no pretty high CI guy.

            • Will Scharnagl

              Will Scharnagl says:
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              ok so obviously this league rosters a ton of prospects, but man some of those guys are names that I would literally never want on my roster under any circumstances. For example as a Reds fan guys like Okey and Lavalley are names that I honestly think have very close to a 0% chance of ever contributing anything in fantasy. At that point I think you’re better off looking through late round picks and international signings and finding guys you think are interesting. Even in the literal deepest leagues you can always find interesting talents. For example one of my favorite guys who probably wouldn’t be rostered in a league with 2,000+ prospects is Tristen Carranza, undrafted OF for the Diamondbacks. Another one would be a guy like Nick Neal who literally has 80 grade raw power.

              I just think when you’re that deep you might as well pick up some random, obscure guys with potential rather than someone like Okey who is honestly just bad.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      throw m.allan NYM in there too, itch not high on (6th at NYM on his team list), PL’s mock 1st year draft had him 52nd (but they admitted none of them had eyes on him so he easily could be lower than he should be).

      • Will Scharnagl

        Will Scharnagl says:
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        not really a fan of Allan. HS pitchers in general aren’t good investments in dynasty leagues, but Allan especially I think is really overrated. Even among High School pitchers in this draft he’s not even one of my favorites.

        • goodfold2 says:
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          went bracho at 1.22. ed cab and others just below him went right after. espino right before me. traded the 2.22 + staumont for barreto (league min deal till end of 22). now i’m waiting and will probably go SP/SP with my 2 late 3rd rounders. 4 of that pitcher list above is still around. e.pena got way closer to my 2.22 than i thought possible and if he did i would have made a slightly different trade for barreto that didn’t include the 2.22.

  2. Shawnuel says:
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    The Mariners gave Julio Rodriguez a very aggressive assignment to start 2019, having him start in Low A full season ball, skipping AZL rookie league and The Northwest SS league. Do you see Marte getting the same aggressive treatment in 2020? I actually do see him starting in West Virginia for The Power. Plus, I see DSL Teammate, Jonaton Clase skipping AZL and Going to SS Everett.

    • Will Scharnagl

      Will Scharnagl says:
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      I think it’s possible but I would guess that he’ll probably start in rookie ball. It wouldn’t completely surprise me to see him start in WV, but JRod was far more advanced than Marte, so it made a lot more sense.

  3. B says:
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    Considering your top 6 skyrocketers- would you drop Jazz to pick up Garcia, Bracho, or Marte?

    • Will Scharnagl

      Will Scharnagl says:
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      yes, yes, and yes. I’m super low on Jazz personally. A lot of the reason he’s rated so highly is that he’s an excellent defender, but that’s not gonna help you in fantasy. I don’t believe in his hit tool at all, and his power and speed are both above average, but nothing extremely special. Out of those 3 I think it’s up to personal preference, but I’d take all 3 over Jazz

      • B says:
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        Thank you!

  4. goodfold2 says:
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    pick up soon. cantillo/walston just went. gone through almost all of the systems so far, how you ranking these guys (who all seem to have at least #3 upside at least from somebody thinking it somewhere, often numerous somebodies):

    – baumann BAL (everybody seems to have his floor/ceiling pretty nicely)
    – m.thompson/dalquist WSOX (itch likes dalquist more but mostly everybody from either thinking dalquist has bullpen risk or thompson’s projection has it the other way, except pitcherlist, they have dalquist 1 spot higher too)
    – n.song BOS (the navy risk of course, but seems like unless that hurts him long term we’d still have a mid rotation guy at worst)
    – j.lewis LAD (possible #3 upside)
    – a.kelly MIL (everybody agrees this guy has big bullpen risk but upside is a 55 in some spots, i’m seeing all the above having 50/45’s or so on upside/likely)

    those above i’m assuming are higher up, but then we got these too:
    – s.johnson TB
    – g.stinson TB (only person i’ve seen write about him is ralph but ralph says when he saw him he was at least as good as manoah)
    – b.bailey BAL (probably only #4 upside, but he’d probably be free, both you and itch mentioned him as value guy)
    – bello BOS (itch had him high, and fangraphs (they’re all the way up to 6 teams done if fantasy rundown’s page is accurate (but it’s about 3 or so teams behind showing what you’re up to)) has all of his pitches and command at 55-50 ceilings)
    – wiu BOS (itch had him high, and fangraphs has some of his stuff 60 ceilings and splitter 55)
    – abbott/thompson CUBS
    – ashby MIL (these last 3 might be only #4 upsides)

    • goodfold2 says:
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      scratch baumann and gil.

      • Will Scharnagl

        Will Scharnagl says:
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        Out of that group it’s honestly a toss up. I personally like Lewis a lot, but with pitchers that young it’s such a crap shoot. This guy I write with Diego Solares loves Kelly, Stinson has sick stuff but injury/reliever list. I don’t think you can really go wrong tho tbh

        • goodfold2 says:
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          didn’t think you’d be answering this this quickly, i had to make my first pick out of 2 in 3 picks and went m.thompson (probably should’ve gone lewis since LAD. saw that thompson was for good part of the year projected as top 10 overall real life drafted guy somewhere till he ended the season badly). maybe lewis or kelly is around later. even though i’m far deeper in hitting prospects and esp OF in particular i’m finding most of these SP so close (most projected grades i’m seeing at ralph’s site are in the 50-40 or at best 50/45 (up/likely) except kelly’s 55/40 (from his higher upside since his fastball is so sick (not that MIL is all that good at pitcher development nor is the park any good for them) that i should probably just take j.fraley (FAR highest guy left and he’s even in some spots top 200 or 150’s (itch and 365’s lists. itch bumps speed a bit in general it seems too) then nab another guy in this general level later. this always happens though, i keep putting off pitching since a far better overall graded hitter is around. me trading away the 2.22 + staumont for barreto where i would’ve gotten ed cab with that pick leaves me in this position. but i in no way would’ve thought j.fraley would be around at pick 95 either. i would’ve easily taken and almost got (they all went in the last 10 picks) 2/3rds of gil, cantillo, walston. at the same time if i ever need to trade one of fraley/kirilloff/adell/trammell i’d bet any of them would net already developed pitching anyway assuming they get to their grades, probably with other stuff along in it.

          • goodfold2 says:
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            i was just talking to a leaguemate about t.thomas PIT SP vs t.davidson ATL. i said obv davidson has the ETA down over most SP left in draft and he was a big mover this last year, but also everybody is saying “SP 4 upside” on him. then i went back and tried to find more about t.thomas PIT, one site actually said if he develops a changeup he’s a “SP 2-3 guy” which sounds odd since nobody else that i can find has him projected like that. i sure hope the dearth of sites that have done PIT (he was ranked last by itch on his PIT page) hasn’t led me to miss him here over other guys above since i could’ve gotten him. davidson did so well across 3 levels last year 365 put him barely in their top 200 but elsewhere i’m only seeing an upside of “SP 4 with 45/40” all those guys above where i can find a projection grade for them they’re all 50 upsides.

            • Will Scharnagl

              Will Scharnagl says:
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              I love Thomas. Alex Jensen is releasing his top 30 for the Pirates soon and he’s also a big fan. Elite athleticism and has hit as high as 103 with the FB. I’d take him over Davidson

              • goodfold2 says:
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                yikes, i think i see this answer coming already, and you’d also have taken him over that list farther above or no? (i went m.thompson). b.bailey is probably the only “upside #4 SP with a 45 ceiling” that i’ll be attempting to draft, and even him i’d wait longer on. which site is jensen at? i’ll probably be shooting for a.kelly or j.lewis in about 12ish picks. we’ve been moving faster than lately today.

                • Will Scharnagl

                  Will Scharnagl says:
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                  Jensen is a ProspectsLive guy, used to write at Baseball Farm. One of the best writers around. I’d take Thomas over Thompson.

                  • goodfold2 says:
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                    yeah i’ve gone over every page they have for team lists so far and when doing any team i compare it to all the other sites that have ranked that team (and their 1st year mock draft), the lack of PIT so far sucks (at least here). sounding like he’ll be a near top 7 over there with a 50/40 or so. maybe even a 50/45. same reason i didn’t have b.williamson in that list above, albeit i should’ve had t.thomas in it above.

                    • goodfold2 says:
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                      found PIT’s PL end of 2018 season , and he must’ve moved up quite a bit since he was 25th then and was projected RP at that time (albeit “dominant” was the wording). then i found an SI article from 4 days ago that claims according to somebody he’s now PIT’s “7th best pitcher prospect (18th overall)” but also gives his fastball a 60 and slider a 55. does sound like at least a good RP from these things. a.kelly sounds similar with probably more risk.

                      – ah shit prospects1500 (who’s one of the many sites that fantasy rundown’s compilation page of current 2020 lists is slow to adjust) posted 2 days ago and in there he’s 5th overall (this is ahead of all of oliva/mojica/bae, the first 2 of which are higher pretty much everywhere else so far, all 3 by itch), saying the changeup is advancing too. so yeah, wish i had read that (or PL’s list). stupid super early drafts.

  5. goodfold2 says:
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    you know what’s going on with prospects live’s pages. they open still but the player list doesn’t load. been going on for a few hours, not my computer as i’ve tried a few and i cleaned my main one completely. tried different browers, all that. pages don’t load. hopefully just an updating issue, not a great time for me here if this lingers.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      scratch this, it’s back working now.

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